Monday, 15 April 2013

Kirrimuir BE100, Mud, Wind and Rain!

Hi all

As you know I am hoping that we can make the transition up to Novice this year and have been trying to get J fit for it. Last week I ran him at Eden Valley in the BE90 to get us a nice start run – this worked as planned where we got a double clear and inside the time (time is the thing we don’t get that often and usually have an average of 6-8 tf) so after a pleasing first run I had entered Kirrimuir BE100.

In the run up to the event Trudy the truck took a sicky and has another couple of weeks garage rest before the nice lorry fixer man will return her all ready and better. Until then I am loaning a friends trailer or H's lorry. Due to the winds forecast H said I could take hers.

So up and bathed on Sunday morning, set off at 7am, collected jnhuk on the way through as she was my groom for the day. Pootled all the way up there and then realized that I was maybe pushing it for time a wee bit and put my foot down!

Arrived on the showfield to find they were towing us on, it had rained and rained since 4am and the first lorry to arrive had sunk. We didn’t have long to wait, the tractor guys were pretty good (I hate being towed), and we were in our spot in a few minutes. Cue a mad dash to get number, tacked up, studded up and dressed, although at least the rain had stopped for a spell.

Got over to the Dr to find the rider after me had been sent in before me, so a very quick trot and canter and we headed over to start our test. Was a bit muddy and I rode a quiet test.

Video here:

Had a long time between Dr and SJ, so studs out, hay’d, watered J and put back on the lorry and headed over for a cuppa and xc course walk. The SJ warm up was just mud but the SJ ring looked a bit better. Spoked to course builder who said they would be moving to fresher ground once BE90 finished. Went over to see my dressage score.

It read 25.5……….but only for 10 minutes before they came over and corrected it to 36.5!!!!

Ah well, I did have a brief moment of total shock – thankfully my photo I took of the 25.5 didn’t upload to facebook so I didn’t have the shame of everyone thinking I’d done well, only to have to say it was a mistake

Anyway I’m pretty pleased with that score. Last week we did a BE90 and got 37.0, and this week moved up to BE100 and got 0.5 better!

So we headed out to walk the XC, the ground was getting pretty deep but the BE100 track was fresh and unused. I decided that I just wanted to go clear and wasn’t bothered about the time. It was a very hilly track and I wasn’t sure he’d be fit enough.

Didn’t get any photos of the course as we were caught in a proper monsoon, totally soaked right through to my knickers and I was wearing waterproof trousers! The course looked nice, old fashioned but up to height and I only thought the novice drop looked enormous so I must be getting used to seeing those now too!

Headed back to SJ, changed completely and it managed to stay dry for the rest of the time, the wind however stayed and was very strong. I warmed up over a couple of jumps but J got stuck in the mud and nearly fell over them so I decided to just go straight in.

Popped round lovely, only clocked the audience coming round to fence 3 and he wasn’t really listening to my leg, jumped it a bit worried and had it down, popped the rest of the course lovely so not bad for our first time SJ on grass since last September!

Got changed and headed to XC. Was a bit boggy in the warm up and again jumped one fence before heading over to start box – it was so windy I didn’t hear my 1 minute call, and wandered over to chat to the starter to be told 10 seconds! Oops!

Set off XC, popped everything but felt tired on the second hill and let him run at his own pace. Came home clear but with a bucket load of time faults – 19!! So not placed but clear, and needing to up the fitness if we have more hilly ones to do. Also didn't take shorter routes as I tried to stick to good ground so lost loads of time doing this. Had I been doing the BE90 I would have only got 8 tf so not really too bad when you add the ground, fitness and extra jump efforts. Just stuff to work on for next time.

Headed home with a tired pony, Forth Road Bridge closed due to the wind so had an extra half and hour detour but J tucked into his grub when we got home and looked relaxed but tired. I’m pleased to report that he came out of his stable sound without a bit of heat in his legs and cantered off down to field when I put him out this morning so I’m pretty happy with that.

Pic of the xc finish – you can see what the ground was like.

Have to say that it was a good day and the organizers did a brill job to run it after such a downpour.

Thanks for reading

Eden Valley horse trials BE90 report

Hi all

So our event season started yesterday with an entry in the BE90 at Eden Valley. As you know I am hoping to move to Novice this year and after a fall, I decided that the 90 was a good starting point as I wanted to check that I was fit enough to ride and make it an easy run round for J.

So in the run up to the event I had a week off work to assist hubby with lambing duties. During the week Trudy (the truck) decided that she wasn’t feeling very well and had a temperature so I had to admit her to lorry garage leaving me with no transport to the horse trials! Thankfully my friends offer the use of their lorry or trailer and as Hubby still has a 4x4 I opted for the trailer.

Loaded everything including the dog into the car and headed down at 7am. The M74 had been closed at one point near Annan due to an accident but there were no hold ups at all. Got down there with plenty of time and met up with Mum who had come along for the day to watch, be groom and look after chief course walker that is my lovely Labrador!

Walked the XC, was a beautiful day with the sun shining and the ground absolutely perfect. There were a couple of extra fences but nothing to worry about at all. I have been trying hard to work on J’s fitness so for me this was also a test to see how we would get on.

Tack up and headed over for the Dressage. This is not my strong point and in my excitement at being at the first event of the year I got on too early. He warmed up beautifully and for once I felt that our canter work might actually be good. Sadly it wasn’t to be as I had got him ready too early and he was switched off by the time we went in. Ended up with a 37, which I’m pleased about really. The judge said there was a lot to like. Our sheet had mostly 6’s and 7’s. His walk needs work – how to do you get a horse that doesn’t like to free walk, to actually free walk?! Thank goodness the walk wasn’t a x2 score!

Anyway onto SJ, last year we totally fluffed the first fence and nearly fell over it – my friend is the judge there and she had had a giggle at my rubbish riding (and facial expression at it) – thankfully this year we redeemed ourselves and jumped a lovely clear round. Met some friends on the way out  who recognized my orangyness! Everyone said it was a lovely round – I didn’t get ahead of his movement and we left everything up

Headed back to the lorry, chucked in his studs and tacked up for XC. Hopped on – and headed over. Once we walked into the XC warm up he totally lit up. I felt like he was going to jump the queue just so he could get out there on the course cantered round and jumped a couple of jumps, didn’t feel like we needed to do anymore at all and headed over to watch the one before me set off. Had a lovely chat to the steward, and then the countdown…..5..4..3..2..1 Had to hold J back – I swear he has learnt to count!

We set off with a blast, and flew round to the first hill after fence 6, took shorter routes to the fences to save time and he took everything on. Once over 6 we headed up the hill – I thought this would be when I could find out how fit he was – (when I walked the course in the morning there were some seriously out of breath horses one of which nearly fell over the double at the top) and I can say I didn’t need to worry once at the top he locked onto the double and flew them. Didn’t feel it was a long two strides at all. Flew the rest of the course and didn’t slow when going back up the hill. I rode him determined through the water as I wanted him to keep cantering through it and I needn’t have worried, he was just brilliant

So came home clear, and even better inside the time Bagged ourselves a foundation point but just missed out the tickets and finished 12th.

Big pats to the grey boy, he wasn’t even that puffed when we finished either and I’m pleased to report that aside from a bit of muscle pain on Sunday, my legs worked fine too!

Photos very kindly taken by a friend – many thanks for them – they are brill

Galloping across the countryside!

Splish Splash

second to last fence

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Spring is here!!! A brief update.

Hi All

So not a very long update, promise I will write another one very soon.

So this week I have had time off work to assist my hubby for the lambing period. We have only 16 ewes and we sponge them to synchronize their cycle so that they are lambing around the same time. For us it makes it easier.

They were all due to start on Easter Sunday. Unfortunately they didn’t actually start until Tuesday morning when our lovely homebred ewe Flotsam gave birth to twin girls in the early hours of the morning. Currently it is Wednesday and only two more have lambed so far. They both had singles so our lambing percentage currently stands at 125%. It would be nice if the 13 others would get on with it though!

My aim for this week had been to finalise my preparation with Jack for Eden Valley Horse Trials. This started on Sunday with a trip to a local arena event training session which had both coloured show jumps and also a working hunter course. It was nice to have a pop round

Thanks to H for taking the pics and putting the jumps up/down/poo picking!

On Monday we did some gallop training, I have been using the heart rate monitor for his interval training and I think he is reasonably fit. His recovery rate is very quick – around a minute, so I need to build this up to include gallop and more hill work to increase the fitness for Novice (1.10m) BE if we go well enough to move up to this level this season. If the events I have entered run, then all of these will also help him.

We are heading to Eden Valley this Saturday for the BE90 as a schooling round, with the bad weather up here its been a nightmare to get anywhere for any gallop/hill work. I have some extremely good hills for fittening work but it’s been too hard to ride in them and they need rolling.

I also have a flatwork lesson planned today, when schooling yesterday I feel like I’m a bit stiff in my upper body in canter so will try and sort that before the event!

Will keep you posted!

Onto Larry!

My plan this week was to start Larry off under saddle. So far his education has been sporadic and really only includes long reining 4 times, laid over his back once, and ridden once – all of these will breaks in between due to his kick, mud fever and cellulitis. Now that has all cleared I had prayed for good weather so I could crack on.

Luckily for me this week has been perfect so far!

I started by long reining him on Saturday, which he did at a leisurely pace! So on Sunday, I did a short spell of long reining and then got my husband to walk alongside him in a 20m circle both ways before moving away. After that I only sat on him for a short period, going forwards into trot and some wobbly steering before giving him lots of pats and polo’s!

Steering and trotting:

The following day, I rode him again for around 20 minutes, repeating the same thing. Little and often is my plan and he was brilliant, not a foot wrong.
Yesterday I got on him without a person standing by after the first circle, and repeated this a couple of times while doing some trot/walk around the school. He took a polo mint from my hand while I was on him, and even let me take a photo while he enjoyed the view. Lastly after my other half came and walk with us down to our road end and back. Its only a couple of hundred metres long but he was foot perfect and didn’t bat an eyelid at anything new! We did turn before the wheelie bins – I’ll leave those scary horse-eating-gremlin-bins for another day!!

So I cannot complain! He has been great, not even looked at the giant HGV lorries flying past the arena on the main road (my other horse is scared of them!) and is totally chilled out about everything I ask him to do. He has even started to jump the steps up out of his field like an eventer (there are 3 small steps but hey ho if he wants to jump them!)

My aim now is to keep is slow and easy, short walk hacks to start with over the next month or so to get him built up a bit. He’s a big horse and doesn’t turn 4yo until May so I’d like it to be nice a gentle. Perhaps an outing planned for August time if we can but nothing too difficult.

Big pats to the orange superstar in the making!